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TheStreet Open House

Why Apple Will Come Back to Flash

Stocks in this article: AAPL ADBE

By Don Reisinger

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Adobe (ADBE - Get Report) Flash is arguably one of the most important standards on the Web. According to Adobe, the platform powers more than 75% of the Internet's video content and 70 percent of all Web-based games. It's also the backbone of thousands of Web sites that call on it to enhance the design value of Web pages.

Apple

But Apple (AAPL - Get Report) doesn't see it that way. At his keynote address at the Worldwide Developer's Conference yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made it clear that when it comes to Flash, his company is against it. "We support HTML5," Jobs said. "It's a completely open, uncontrolled platform."

Those comments echoed what Jobs recently said at the AllThingsD D8 Conference. "We're just trying to make great products," Jobs told The Wall Street Journal at the conference. "We don't think Flash makes a great product, so we're leaving it out." Those comments followed an open letter Jobs wrote on Apple's site in April, claiming Flash "has not performed well on mobile devices."

Adobe disagrees. The company's CEO Shantanu Narayen told The Wall Street Journal following the publishing of Jobs' open letter that Flash will "eventually prevail." He went on to say that his company's partners, mostly Web and mobile developers, want to be able to "get their content, their brand across multiple devices." In essence, Adobe contends, Apple's desire to force companies into its chosen standard might not be appealing to as many partners as Apple thinks.

More on Apple vs. Adobe
Apple Makes the HTML5 Rallying Call

It's certainly a dangerous game for Apple to play. HTML5, Apple's chosen Web standard, has yet to be adopted by very many companies. In fact, some firms are saying now that they don't want to follow Apple's path and will instead stick with Flash.

A recent report in the New York Post claimed that Time Warner (TWX) and NBC Universal, two major entertainment companies that Apple needs on its side to kill Flash, have decided to stick with Adobe's standard because of the immense cost and time it would take to convert their content to standards that would work on Apple's operating system.

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